Many professionals across the nation will find themselves unemployed at one time or another during their lives. Because so much of our self-worth is wrapped up in our professional lives, being unemployed can be stressful and even depressing. If you’ve found yourself without a job, here are ten ways to combat that stress and depression.
It’s important to maintain a regular schedule even if you aren’t working. Give yourself time for housework, job hunting, and after-school activities with the kids. Being unemployed means that you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn, but you do have to get up! Keeping a regular schedule will give you time for job hunting and let you be available during normal hours, in case a potential employer calls for an interview.
Why not enjoy the time that you have and take a class? Enroll in a course that will help you move your career to the next level or a class in something you’ve always been interested in. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of self-enrichment! If you feel that you are stagnating in your current career options, consider going to graduate school. An MBA or Master’s in Health Administration might be just the ticket to landing you a new job.
It can be difficult to stay healthy when you get stressed out. Do your best to maintain a regular sleep schedule and a proper diet and exercise routine. If you are an emotional eater, throw out the junk food and stock the fridge with veggies.
Join a social networking site like LinkedIn to make contacts that could be helpful in your job search. Maintain contact with past co-workers and employers. You never know where your next job lead might come from!
Keep in touch with friends and family. Maintaining your personal relationships will give you a sense of normalcy and well-being.
Being unemployed is stressful and depressing, so it’s important to take care of yourself emotionally and mentally. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to be kind to yourself. Look for small ways to treat yourself and do so once a day. Whether it’s relaxing in the tub with a great book or sitting on the back porch with a glass of wine, do small things that make you happy.
Get outside and plant a garden! Gardening is a fantastic way to relax and a great way to cut expenses while you’re unemployed. You’ll be putting fresh food on your family’s table and reducing the amount you spend at the grocery store at the same time.
Look for small ways that you can cut household expenses. Consider cutting back on your cable and cell phone plans, cook dinner instead of eating out, and pack the kids’ lunches. Every penny you save counts!
If the loss of a paycheck is impacting your family and your self-esteem, try your hand at making money from home. You can sell items on eBay and Craigslist or you can look for freelance gigs online. You might not get rich but you may make enough to pay a bill or two.
Don’t stop searching for a job! Make filling out job applications or sending resumes your weekly goal. Set a number and stick to it, no matter what! You may choose to send out two resumes per day or apply for 20 jobs each week. Whatever number you set, having a goal will keep you focused and on track.
It’s normal for people to experience a sense of grief and loss when they find themselves unemployed. Give yourself a few days to wallow and then pull yourself out of it! Do your best to stay positive, remain focused, and treat yourself with kindness. If you can do these things, you’ll find that you gain an upper hand on the unemployment blues.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
Guest writer Susan Hampton is a freelance blogger with an interest in higher education. Susan advocates going back to school to get a professional degree, such as a master of health administration online, if you are struggling with unemployment.